By Fran Moran
Editor’s Note: Fran and her husband, Ed, have been married 63 years and are long-time volunteers and participants at Senior Friendship Centers in Sarasota. Their story touched our hearts, and we wanted to share it with you. It’s the side of aging that’s hard and real. But love makes it easier, even when one of you has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
"At 8 a.m. on Feb. 1, I fell in our tiny master bathroom and I somehow wedged myself under the vanity counter. Ed had a terrible time hauling me out – I had fallen hard on my left hip (not the replaced one), on my left shoulder (not the right one which is being treated for Bursitis), and I gave my head a bash that didn’t knock me out (but probably gave me a concussion).
"Finally out, Ed sat me on the couch and opened the front door – then vomited in the bathroom. He then dialed 911 and handed me the phone. Then he vomited again. The paramedics pulled into the driveway while the dispatcher continued to talk to me. Ed sat next to me on the couch with his arms around me and I couldn’t tell which of us was trembling more.
"The paramedics came in with a huge stretcher, from which dangled or held in cases, anything they could need in an emergency like this. Quite a spectacle – a formidable sight, off-putting to say the least.
"Ed and I wanted nothing to do with it.
"The two young paramedics acknowledged that we were fit to stay home together, but emphasized that if we had any later reactions we MUST call 911 and they could come right back. I had no broken bones, which I attribute to a lifetime of drinking milk, eating all dairy foods and four years or ReClast, a once-a-year infusion to strengthen bones – it works!
"I went back to bed after Ed vomited again. This time I was able to bathe his face with a cool, wet washcloth.
"In looking back, the Paramedics must have seen two geezers clinging together, but able to take care of each other, as we have done for 63 years.
"I am extra proud of Ed Moran, because he did all the right things, even though he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease on Feb. 25, 2008.
“Our doctors have treated us both kindly and gently as Ed has descended form on plateau to the next,” she said.
Fran later told me later that Ed kisses her every night and promises he won’t forget her – “no matter what."
In her eyes, and in his, I saw what kind of love it takes to withstand more than six decades, even with the hardest times ahead.
Senior Friendship Centers Caregiver Resource Centers and Living Room Adult Day Services (Sarasota: 941. 952.0821, Venice: 941.584.0108) are lifelines for couples and families facing some of the most profound challenges life offers.